Jurriën Rood

A philosophy of the jamsession  

or: How we can collaborate in freedom 



‘How is that possible: these people are playing music together so easily, without any rehearsals, so freely, and it still sounds like… music?’


With Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Hans Dulfer, Isaiah Berlin, Spinoza and many other musicians and philosophers.


About the book

Jurriën Rood has twenty-five years of experience participating in jam sessions as an amateur saxophone player – with all the highs and lows one might expect. As a philosopher, he considers the jam as an experiment in voluntary collaboration, by participants who are unknown to each other. It is a wonderful metaphor for public life and the public debate.

The questions that a jam session raises are relevant to us all. Why is voluntary collaboration such a struggle, at times? How many rules do we need here, and what is the role of authority? And most of all: are we hampered by our limited conception of freedom? We often think that freedom is constrained by rules, but moving back and forth between music, philosophy and the public domain, the author shows how rules instead can create freedom, both in music and in the world at large.



‘A jam is an adventure of freedom and spontaneous interaction. Sometimes. It can also be a tortuous path strewn with discord and confusion. What exactly makes the difference?’



Jurriën Rood (1955) lives and works alternately in Dresden and Amsterdam. He is a philosopher, a film and theatre maker and amateur saxophone player. He graduated with honours in philosophy in 2006 and has concentrated on socio-political philosophy since. In 2013 he published What’s wrong with authority?, which was nominated for the Socrates Challenge Cup, followed in 2016 by The Pegida Issue, which made it to the Socrates longlist.

See also: www.jurrienrood.nl